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Medical History, 1992, 36: 1-33.

THE SOUL AND THE BRAIN BETWEEN ANATOMY AND NATURPHILOSOPHIE IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY
by
MICHAEL HAGNER *
In the years around 1800 two hypotheses led to fundamental discussions in German neuroanatomy and philosophy. The first was developed by Samuel Thomas Soemmerring (1755-1830) in his treatise Uber das Organ der Seele (On the organ of the soul) of 1796, in which he postulated that the organ of the soul was located in the fluid of the cerebral ventricles.' The second was published only two years later by Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) in a short and schematic paper, in which he developed a research programme based on the assumption that several independent organs or faculties of mind were located in the cerebral cortex.2 This was his doctrine of organology, later known as phrenology, although Gall himself never used this term. In comparing the two, their differences are usually stressed more than their similarities. It has often been argued that Soemmerring's attempt was a late revival of the medieval cell doctrine, an opinion that,'as I will show, is based on a profound misunderstanding of Soemmerring's intentions.3 Looking at the historical approaches
Dr Michael Hagner, Institut fur Geschichte der Medizin, Humboldtallee 11, 3400 Gottingen, Germany.
*

Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen,

A preliminary version of parts of this paper was presented to seminars at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine and the Wellcome Unit in Manchester. I have benefited enormously from discussion after these lectures. Furthermore I am deeply indebted to Dr William F. Bynum, Prof. Dietrich von Engelhardt, Prof. Otto-Joachim Griisser, Dr Christopher J. Lawrence, Peter N. Robinson, Dr Bettina Wahrig-Schmidt, and two anonymous referees for their comments and criticisms. A part of the research was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungs-Gemeinschaft, while I was working at the Physiologisches Institut, Freie Universitat Berlin, and at the Wellcome Institute. I am grateful to my colleagues and friends at the Institut fur Medizin- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Medizinische Universitat zu Liubeck, where I wrote this paper.
1 Samuel Thomas Sommerring, Ober das Organ der Seele, Konigsberg, Nicolovius, 1796; repr. Amsterdam, Bonset, 1966. 2 Franz Joseph Gall, 'Des Herrn Dr. F. J. Gall Schreiben uiber seinen geendigten Prodromus uber die Verrichtungen des Gehirns der Menschen und der Thiere, an Herrn Jos. Fr. von Retzer', Neuer Teutsc-her Merkur, 1798, 12: 311-32. In the following I will cite from: Fran: Joseph Gall: Naturforscher und Anthropologe, ed. Erna Lesky, Bern, Hans Huber, 1979, pp. 47-59. 3 See Max Neuburger, Die historische Entvicklung der experimentellen Gehirn- und Ruclkenmarksphysiologie vor Flourens, Stuttgart, Enke, 1897, p. 125; Walther Riese, 'The 150th anniversary of S. T. Soemmerring's Organ of the Soul: the reaction of his contemporaries and its significance today', Bull. Hist. Med., 1946, 20: 310-21, p. 31 1; Heinz Schott, 'Das Gehirn als "Organ der Seele": Anatomische und

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Michael Hagner

to Soemmerring more generally, one gains the impression that his concept of a circumscribed organ of the soul was the only faux pas in an admirable scientific life, during which he enjoyed a good reputation as an anatomist.4 Franz Joseph Gall, on the other hand, has often been considered as the forerunner of the localization theory of modern brain research, even if his organology was regarded as pseudo-science.5 While Soemmerring has been thought of as the end of a tradition, Gall is seen as the beginning of a new one, although it has been at the same time pointed out "that the doctrine of the seat of the soul is linked with the doctrine of cerebral localization".6 This argument is usually based on the general assumption that brain research in the early nineteenth century took the form of a rivalry between localization theory and brain equipotentiality, according to which all functions are performed by the whole brain without any localization.7 True, Soemmerring's concept of a localized and circumscribed organ of the soul had in general no lasting influence on the further development of brain research, although from the point of view of localization theory it was preserved in Gall's theory. However, for several decades Gall was vigorously discussed by anatomists, physiologists, and philosophers, until the experimental "refutation" of his work by Pierre Flourens (1794-1864) led to his overthrow. Only from the 1860s onward was his contribution remembered by the pioneers of modern localization theory. While recognizing the heuristic value of this distinction between Soemmerring and Gall, I will attempt to follow another strategy in order to understand the development of brain research at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In analysing the contemporary reception of Soemmerring and Gall, I will show that the discussion about localizing the organ of the soul and different mental propensities and talents took place on two different levels-of philosophy and of anatomical methodology. This separation may seem trivial, but a more careful look will reveal that both levels are "part of the story of how human beings have attempted ... to apply the categories of scientific understanding to themselves: minds and brains caught somehow between a universe of social and moral realities, and a universe that seems to stand outside of such realities, and that they choose to call
physiologische Vorstellungen im 19. Jahrhundert. Ein Uberblick', Phil. Nat., 1987, 24: 3-14, p. 4; Claudio Pogliano, 'Between form and function: a new science of man', in Pietro Corsi (ed.), The mill of thought: from the art of memory to the neurosciences, Milan, Electa, 1989, pp. 144-57, on p. 147. 4 Besides the authors mentioned in note 3 above, see Helmke Schierhorn, 'Samuel Thomas Soemmerring (1755-1830) als Neuroanatom', Z. mikrosk. -anat. Forsch., 1980, 94: 1051-76. A more discriminating view is expressed in the various contributions to the volume Gehirn, Nerven, Seele: Anatomie und Physiologie im Umfeld S. Th. Soemmerrings, Soemmerring-Forschungen 3, ed. Gunter Mann and Franz Dumont, Stuttgart and New York, Gustav Fischer, 1988. 5 Neuburger, for example, regarded Gall as the founder of localization theory. Cf. Max Neuburger, 'Briefe Galls an Andreas und Nannette Streicher', Sudhoffs Arch., 1916-17, 10: 3-70, p. 3. See also Erwin H. Ackerknecht and Henri Vallois, Franz Joseph Gall: inventor of phrenology and his collection, Madison, University of Wisconsin Medical School, 1956, p. 13. Other important studies on Gall are Owsei Temkin, 'Gall and the phrenological movement', Bull. Hist. Med., 1947, 21: 275-321; Erna Lesky, 'Gall und Herder', Clio Medica, 1967, 2: 85-96; idem, 'Structure and function in Gall', Bull. Hist. Med., 1970, 44: 297-314. 6 Walther Riese and Ebbe C. Hoff, 'A history of the doctrine of cerebral localization: sources, anticipations, and basic reasoning', J. Hist. Med., 1950, 5: 51-71, p. 60. 7 Ibid.; Judith P. Swazey, 'Action propre and action commune: the localization of cerebral function', J. Hist. Biol., 1970, 3: 213-34; Edwin Clarke and L. Steven Jacyna, Nineteenth-century origins of neuroscientifc concepts, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1987, pp. 241-4.

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The soul and the brain 'natural' .8 If we separate philosophy and anatomical methodology, we can show that both viewpoints were part of a complex dispute about the knowledge of human nature. I will argue that Soemmerring and Gall did not agree on the first, but concurred perfectly on the second, with which I will begin. There is no doubt that both men undertook their research within an anatomical framework. Soemmerring and Gall made far-reaching claims concerning the brain and the soul with the aid of anatomical arguments. Their basic assumption was the positive correlation between structure and function, which means that given functions were implied in given brain structures, and this led to given animal or human behaviour. More specifically, the aspect of quantity, that is the size of a defined part of the brain, was the anatomical explanation for differing behaviour.9 They were therefore criticized by anatomists, who argued against such a leading role for anatomy. The methodological question was whether or not anatomy was competent to deal with problems of localization of function and of the relationships between brain and soul. The dispute was inaugurated mainly by Karl Asmund Rudolphi (1771-1832), and, to a lesser extent, by Johann Friedrich Meckel (17811833).10 Working as professors in Berlin and Halle, both were leading protagonists in anatomy and physiology in the first decades of the nineteenth century and both saw themselves as strict advocates of empirical science. In our context, it is interesting to examine the application of this empirical belief to brain research, and we shall see that it is not useful to reduce the dispute about the brain and the soul to a strict separation between empirical evidence and hypotheses in anatomical research. This reveals an important conceptual difference between the two Prussian anatomists: Rudolphi was much more radical in his criticism and finally abandoned brain research, because his methodological scepticism was linked to a completely different context, within which he was interested in the human soul and behaviour. Meckel, on the other hand, shared methodological principles with Rudolphi, but came to conclusions that allowed him to preserve some of Gall's assumptions. At this point the other, philosophical level of discussion becomes relevant, namely, whether or not the nature of the human soul is knowable in a physical or only in a metaphysical context. In the late eighteenth century neither Descartes' strict dualism nor La Mettrie's mechanical materialism were accepted as giving satisfactory answers to the questions concerning the presence of the soul in the brain. Werner Krauss distinguished between two main trends that were constitutive for the discussions on human nature at that time. An "emancipatory" current understood
8 Anne Harrington, 'Beyond phrenology: localization theory in the modern era', in Corsi, op. cit., note 3 above, pp. 206-14, on p. 206. Harrington focuses on the discussion from the mid-century onward, but the same is true for the earlier period. 9 This problem was analysed by William F. Bynum, 'The anatomical method, natural theology, and the functions of the brain', Isis, 1973, 64: 445-68; idem, 'Varieties of Cartesian experience in early nineteenth century neurophysiology', in S. F. Spicker and H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr. (eds), Philosophical dimensions of the neuro-medical sciences, Dordrecht and Boston, Reidel, 1976, pp. 15-33. 10 Useful studies on Rudolphi's life and works are Johannes Muller, 'Gedachtnisrede auf Carl Asmund Rudolphi', in Abhandlungen der Koniglichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Aus dem Jahre 1835, Berlin 1837, pp. xviii-xxxviii; Mauritz Dittrich, 'Die Bedeutung von Karl Asmund Rudolphi (1771-1832) fur die Entwicklung der Medizin und Naturwissenschaften in Berlin im 19. Jahrhundert', Wiss. Z. Univ.

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Soemmerring-Forschungen 6. Herder and the philosophy and history of science. Gall simply took the idea of the morphological development of the brain and related it to mental talents and properties by separating the mind from the soul-body problem. 93-4. which became manifest in the approaches of some protagonists of Enlightenment philosophy. 13 Johann Gottfried Herder. which served to preserve the unity and the freedom of the self. and passions were the various expressions of the indivisible soul. M. 15 Ibid. 14 Ibid. 1884. Bibliographisches Institut. For his successors this was an enormous stimulus. however." too simple to argue. pp.Michael Hagner man as a product within the chain of being.-naturwiss.15 One might be inclined to assume that Herder was a Cartesian dualist. 3. Stuttgart and New York. Niemeyer. in Werke. and the advancement of abilities on the other. Although this view accepted man's privileged position as the most developed and most noble being. Heinrich Kurz. which enabled it to receive the mental sentiments and ideas". in Gunter Mann and Franz Dumont (eds). Johann Friedrich Meckel der Jungere. On Meckel's biography see Rudolf Beneke. p. and Berlin. 12 On Herder's philosophy and anthropology see H. who both referred to Herder in their own ways. 16: 249-77. 1 Cf. 98. the souls of men and of orangutans had their particular places within the chain of being. Jahrhunderts. he also demanded a physiological examination of the more "beautiful organization and proportion [of the brain]. 137-67. Nisbet. which for Greifswald. and in comparing men and apes described the orangutan in an anthropomorphic manner. and his thinking power ("Denkungskraft") came close to reason. Ulistein. While Herder regarded it as useful to examine the size of the brain in different species. Rather. made him similar to man. that is. A more "theological" current. on the contrary. because Herder accepted the relationship between anatomical and morphological development on the one hand. B. Cambridge. One example is Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803). Not at all. Leipzig. Gustav Fischer. Herder continued. memory. p. 99-100. Herder wanted to have it both ways. Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit. 1990. Reihe. but at the same time he insisted upon the indivisibility of the soul and pointed out that reason. Werner Krauss. ed. Die Fruhgeschichte der Menschheit im Blickpunkt der Aujlkarung. His passions and vices. 'Die Anthropologie Johann Gottfried Herders und das klassische Humanitatsideal'. pp.. imagination.. Thus far Herder was a protagonist of what Krauss characterized as the emancipatory current. Ulistein Materialien 35248. that these two positions solely represented the often-cited querelle des anciens et des modernes. II. 1934. This is clear from the different approaches of Soemmerring and Gall. Halle. they expressed a dilemma. 13 This comparison was only appropriate. who pleaded for those two positions at the same time. math. upheld the belief in divine creation and the immortality and indivisibility of 1 It would be the soul. 4 . 1970. 1967. Manfred Wenzel. the soul was nevertheless regarded as a variety of life. Modern Humanities Research Association. to explain some aspects of human nature on the basis of brain research and to hold the metaphysical view of man's indivisible soul at the same time.12 In his most influential book Ideen zur Geschichte der Philosophie der Menschheit (1784-91) he referred to the beginnings of mankind. Frankfurt a. p. Zur Anthropologie des 18.'4 This account had important consequences for the discussion of the soul and the brain. vol. 1987. but it also evoked tricky difficulties. Die Natur des Menschen: Probleme der Physischen Anthropologie und Rassenkunde (1750-1850). Herder himself seemed to have no difficulties in harmonizing these two approaches.

however. Hirzel. however. Elementa physiologicae corporis humani. Soemmerring was therefore attacked for his metaphysical claims. 5 (18): 3-55. Arzt. his "transcendental physiology". Carl Gustav Carus. while Gall was criticized for having excluded metaphysics. Therefore. Nervi. 5 . 1980. This assumption. Theorien und Widerspruche in der Natur und Arzneiwissenschaft. There were important differences in Burdach's and Carus's approaches. he was convinced that he had found a completely new solution. 1796. such as the cardiac and the pleural cavities. 16 It would be too simple to propose their basic opposition to Rudolphi and Meckel on the one hand and to Soemmerring and Gall on the other. 30. Soemmerring saw Haller's error as a result of comparing the hollow spaces of the cerebral ventricles with those elsewhere in the body. Journal der Erfindungen. SOEMMERRING AND GALL Although Soemmerring was aware that the question of localizing the site of interaction between soul and body was an old problem. by which he attempted to explain the process of nerve-signal transmission in the cerebrospinal fluid and the interaction between the fluid and the cranial nerves. but in the fluid of the cerebral ventricles. Leopold Voss. he argued. who were the main protagonists of romantische Naturphilosophie: Karl Friedrich Burdach (1776-1847) and Carl Gustav Carus (1789-1869). 1762. Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777) in 1762 had argued that the ventricle walls touched in living animals and that they were filled with fluid only after death. tried to fulfil Herder's ambiguous claim by explaining the presence of the soul in the brain on the basis of new anatomical and physiological insights. 4. Musculi.18 Instead. This suggests that they represented different interests despite their common philosophical attitude. and he was refuted for using the wrong method in this issue. Bousquet. he had to deal with anatomical questions: whether the ventricles were in fact cavities and whether they were filled with fluid. These problems had been widely discussed in the late eighteenth century.17 Soemmerring rejected both propositions by referring to his own anatomical observations. vol. he did not take into account the difference. Kiinstler.The soul and the brain him was beyond an empirical approach. thus revealing that he did not base his arguments on vivisection. 18 Soemmerring was harshly criticized in an anonymous review of his book for this negligence: 'Ueber Sommerrings Entdeckungen das Organ der Seele betreffend'. 2nd ed. on Carus see Wolfgang Genschorek. Leipzig. Soemmerring. on p.. Naturforscher. pp. The next problem for Soemmerring was to identify the origins of all cranial nerves in the walls of the ventricles. Soemmerring divided his argument into two: an anatomical part and a theoretical. namely that the function of the cerebrospinal fluid was 16 For Burdach's life see his autobiography: Karl Friedrich Burdach. which was crucial to Haller. 39-43. However. Leipzig. Lausanne. Cerebrum. The novel element was that he did not search for the organ of the soul in the solid matter of the brain. Ruickblick auf mein Leben: Selbstbiographie. This position was formulated by two anatomists and physiologists. between the dead and living animal. 17 Albrecht von Haller. 1848. had led Haller to a wrong conclusion. Before this. To support his hypothesis he developed a theory of the function of the organ of the soul. Soemmerring's basic anatomical assumption followed Descartes' claim that the meeting site of the afferent and efferent nerve signals was the place of interaction between body and soul.

. 25 Ibid. 30. 10-12. 1791. and thus represents a large part of their sensorium. 22 Ibid. note 9 above. "I know of no animal.2' Nevertheless he was convinced that all cranial nerves had a direct connection with the cerebrospinal fluid. 51. 59-63. which did not allow him to find what he was looking for. A remarkable aspect of Soemmerring's logic is that five years earlier he had been convinced about the anatomical facts. Bynum. he suggested defining the weight and size of the brain in relation to the weight of the cranial nerves.22 One of these was the olfactory nerve. Johann Ambrosius Barth. His discussion of their origins in the brain shows that he could find them in the walls of the ventricles in only a few cases. because the elephant and the whale had a larger brain than man. vol. p.. 1903-05. 24 Ibid. cit.Michael Hagner only to prevent the walls sticking together."25 This statement presents a further variation in Soemmerring's efforts to prove that man's superiority over animals had a material basis. 21 Idem. Franz Joseph Gall.. cit. He stressed this point on several occasions. one not comparing the cerebral ventricles with other cavities of the body. pt. pp. note I above. 7 vols..26 Hence the search for the organ of the soul was dependent upon Soemmerring. Frankfurt. op. p. 26 For details see Paul Julius M6bius. op. whereas in others he could find no connections between the nerves and the ventricles. 7. 23. Idem. arguing that the size of the ventricles and the quantity of the fluid were the material basis for the innate differences in the development of mental talents. 1. for he could show a direct connection between the olfactory bulb and the lateral ventricles in mammals and in human embryos. Vom Baue des menschlichen Korpers. op. For the moment he was satisfied to have found four cranial nerves to support his hypothesis. 1791-96. namely the correlation between material quantity and function. Varrentrapp & Wenner. p.23 This conclusion led Soemmerring to his main anatomical argument. 5 vols. Leipzig. 87. 48-9. 17-18. Soemmerring also followed this strategy in his analysis of the topographical anatomy of the cranial nerves. which possesses such large and well-formed cerebral ventricles as man. the fluid had a function in addition to keeping the ventricles expanded). pp. but drew no conclusion concerning the function of the cerebrospinal fluid. p. After it was clear that the absolute size of the brain was not a valuable parameter.20 This suggests that his interpretation of its function was not the result of anatomical evidence. cit. pp.. 'Varieties'. in Ausgewahlte Werke.. 52. 29. 5.. p.24 He did not hesitate to bring in comparative anatomy. because of their different shape and structure) leads to a "correct" physiological conclusion (that is. He explained this difference in the following way: Does not natural history teach us that some animals are far more directed by the olfactory sense than humans? The reason is that in these animals the large cavity of the olfactory nerve accepts a large amount of the cerebrospinal fluid. 19 Soemrnerring therefore suggested that a "correct" anatomical statement (that is. note I above. pp. but not in human adults. Therefore he pointed out the difficulties of dissecting. 19 20 6 . 23 Ibid. but the product of his ideas about the organ of the soul. vol.

. and theoretical. Darmstadt. Soemmerring. but first of all the second part of Soemmerring's argument has to be analysed. however. and. 24-30. op. which was going beyond the domain of mechanistic thinking. pp. pp. 1980. Man's singularity. Thus Soemmerring concluded that the physiological process within the organ of the soul should also have a singular character. to propose a qualitative change of the signal on its way from the cranial nerve to the organ of the soul. 'Kant. 58-60. The strategy of life: teleology and mechanics in nineteenth-century German biology. Therefore. because "the beginning of life (Urleben) or the beginning of a movement is not even thinkable in a being which is constant and unchangeable in its form". (§ 65). 31 Ibid. 1989. p. 483-8.. also implicated the European's superiority over the non-European for Soemmerring. vol. It was necessary. and he found the solution by proposing an animation and organization for it. cit.. Blumenbach.28 Linked to Blumenbach's principle of the Bildungstrieb (formative drive). Animal spirits had served for the transmission of sensations to the organ of the soul and to transmit messages from the latter to the different parts of the body. 30 Soemmerring. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Cf. This second. 10 vols.. Timothy Lenoir. idem. 27 28 7 . then. 1975. 4th ed. in particular. At this point Kant introduced teleology. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840) and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) had laid the ground for what was defined as "vital materialism". op.. Wilhelm Weischedel. the ventricular fluid was the "medium uniens". and vice versa. 8. like most contemporary anatomists and physiologists. pp.The soul and the brain the claim to demonstrate man's singularity without reconsidering Descartes' immaterial soul. 2nd ed. and vital materialism in German biology'. different from the physiological processes in the brain and nerves. was involved in the debate on animal electricity and the Soemmerring. and argued that the former needed the latter for its function because of its special character. As this was beyond empirical evidence he introduced the dimension of "transcendental physiology". op. argument concerned the interaction between the cerebrospinal fluid and the cranial nerves.. University of Chicago Press. The main problem was to explain the transmission of the nerve signals in fluid. cit. Isis. For details see Lenoir. in Werke. the idea that the interaction of separate parts could only be interpreted as a purposeful process.31 One might be inclined to link Soemmerring's notion of the ventricular fluid to the older concept of "animal spirits" secreted in the brain and conveyed by the nerves. the union of these parts into a whole could only happen through mutual causation. 37. cit. note 23 above. Kant had argued that one could understand the function of the individual parts of the organized body only in relation to the whole body. ed.. p.27 which he tried to establish alongside his anatomical approach.29 The problem in our context is that Soemmerring used terms like animation and organization of the body without giving credit to the theoretical background. note I above. note I above. His argument was that animation of the cerebrospinal fluid was a necessary condition for the phenomenon of life. 71: 77-108. but this would obscure his aims. This will be discussed below. 41.30 He employed this postulate to explain the interaction between the common sensorium and the ventricular fluid. The animation of matter and the organization of living bodies was widely discussed at that time. 29 Immanuel Kant: Kritik der Urteilskraft. Therefore.

To be precise. Briefwechsel 1784-1828. Stuttgart and New York.. In 1784 Soemmerring had published his treatise Uber die korperliche Verschiedenheit des Mohren vom Europaer. Soemmerring had a high reputation as an anatomist. but it can be argued that it was one context in which Soemmerring could use comparative anatomy. he also proclaimed that Blacks had smaller cerebral ventricles and a smaller brain33 and concluded that this might explain their "wildness. 8 . op. Manfred Wenzel.35 It would go beyond the scope of this paper to delve further into the late eighteenth-century anthropological discussion.32 His concept of the animation and the organization of ventricular fluids served to uphold the unity and the singularity of the soul by imposing "vital materialism" on brain research. a rare example in the history of ideas where an hypothesis and its most profound criticism were published in the same book. Georg Lilienthal. or physicians. 34 Ibid.Michael Hagner nature of nerve function. Gustav Fischer. but the whole intellectual community in Germany. in Gunter Mann and Franz Dumont (eds). 1784. 59-61. but it was a complete disaster for him. pp. 24. ed. but now his ambition was to reach out to not only anatomists. The reverse of the coin. Soemmerring-Forschungen 5. Nobody disputed the anatomical findings. is that this reinforced an older idea of Soemmerring. On the basis of the dissection of three black corpses. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799). 191-201. 315-17. cit. 16-20. 35 For a full account of Soemmerring's anthropology cf. 1985. Ober die korperliche Verschiedenheit des Mohren vom Europjer. note 12 above. op. Riese and Hoff. 31-55. and their minor ability to develop a higher culture". 'Soemmerring und Kant: Uber das Organ der Seele und den Streit der Fakultaten'. 106-7. 'Samuel Thomas Soemmerring und seine Vorstellungen uber Rassenunterschiede'. 'Alexander von Humboldt und Soemmerring: das galvanische Phdnomen und das Problem des Lebendigen'. pp.. 73-87.. then. and Blumenbach. cit. who wrote the epilogue to the treatise of 1796.37 Soemmerring had hoped that by asking Kant to write an epilogue. p. and that it would have been better to leave out the soul. too. Samuel Thomas Soemmerring und die Gelehrten der Goethezeit. and brain anatomy and physiology in order to find a reasonable explanation for human nature and a definition for the historical standpoint of European man. in Mann and Dumont. op. note 32 above. Soemmerring not only pointed out the physical differences between black and white man. "Transcendental physiology". however. 36 Goethe. Among his critics were Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832). pp. Werner Friedrich Kiimmel. he reported that Blacks had larger cranial nerves. pp. The reaction was enormous. but all rejected Soemmerring's claim to link brain anatomy with metaphysics. cit. 1988. Soemmerring concluded that Blacks had smaller brains. Goethe und Soemmerring..36 The most distinguished criticism was delivered by Kant. physiologists. for example. the comparison of human races. Mainz. however. and it moreover promised to solve the body-soul problem. Stuttgart and New York. 37 For an analysis of Kant's epilogue see Riese. cit. as the title had suggested.34 Soemmerring concluded from his results that within the Chain of Being Blacks were closer to apes than Whites. unruliness. pp. pp. Kant's authority would encourage the 32 Cf. in Mann and Dumont. op.. In conformity with his earlier rule. could provide a philosophical support of his aims. wrote in a letter (28 August 1796) that Soemmerring should have omitted the second part of the treatise dealing with transcendental physiology. note 3 above. which demonstrates his predilection for a "'quantification" of human nature. Soemmerring-Forschungen 1. 33 Samuel Thomas Soemmerring. Cf. Peter McLaughlin. pp. by which brain size was defined relative to that of cranial nerves. note 6 above. Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835). Gustav Fischer.

however.. 84: "Fliissig ist eine stetige Materie. cit. K6nigsberg. however. p. Kant suspected that Soemmerring had not differentiated sharply between the "seat of the soul" and the "seat of the organ of the soul". His proud and grateful announcement of the epilogue. of which each part can be moved out of its place through the smallest force. 39 Soemmerring. His epistemological argument was that the soul is exclusively "the object of the inner sense. Kant discussed Soemmerring's grounds for postulating the animation and organization of the cerebrospinal fluid. and hence only determinable from temporal conditions".39 Searching for a topographical site for the soul would imply perceiving it by the same sense. op. Diese Eigenschaft scheint aber 9 . p.4' For this reason. because in order to be able to do so it would have to make itself an object of its external Anschauung and to make itself external to itself. can only be perceived (internally or externally) through the external senses.The soul and the brain acceptance of his philosophical approach. given that Soemmerring insisted on the concept of organization in the sense of 38 Soemmerring. 81-2. within which it is contained. This meant. the body. he continued. and vice versa. The soul can only perceive itself through the inner sense. deren jeder Theil innerhalb dem Raum.. p. pp. because a fluid has the property of being a stable matter. note I above. den Korper aber (es sey inwendig oder auBerlich) nur durch auBere Sinne wahrnehmen. or of the common sensorium. which is self-contradictory. Kant argued that the fluid was not a candidate for the organ of the soul. cit. and asked who was competent to deal with this fundamental question. 1798. that Kant in principle rejected a science dealing with the soul and body at the same time. This property seems to be contradictory to the concept of an organized matter. den diese einnimmt. the latter demanded a priori explanations. which was that part of the brain responsible for the unification of sensory perceptions. mithin sich selbst keinen Ort bestimmen.. on the other hand. Hence the soul can not determine a location for itself. In his second argument. Kant pointed out that a person taking the philosophical view in characterizing the mind or the soul could not possibly accept the anatomical and physiological concept of the seat of the soul. He noted a "battle of the [academic] faculties". op. published two years later: Der Streit der Fakultdten. He refused to define a fluid as being organized. weil sie sich zu diesem Behuf zum Gegenstand ihrer auBeren Anschauung machen und sich auBer sich selbst versetzen mifBte. durch die kleinste Kraft aus ihrer Stelle bewegt werden kann.. stands in peculiar contrast to Kant's text. within the place.40 Kant suggested a strict division of the problem: the soul itself was subject only to philosophical analysis. welches sich widerspricht. note I above. that perceived the outer world. based its results on empirical reasoning. In this context Kant's notion of the "battle of the faculties" does not have the political implications that it had for his book with the same title. between the medical (anatomical and physiological) on the one hand. 86: "Nun kann die Seele sich nur durch den inneren Sinn. 40 Ibid. while physiology had the task of examining the function of the brain.38 The former. hence as a material which is resistant to the shifting of its parts (and also to the alteration of its inner configuration) with a particular force. and the philosophical on the other. which one considers as a machine." 41 Ibid. 82. Nicolovius.

Franz Joseph Gall's fame began to spread long before he published an extensive study on his subject in 1810.. op. as will be seen below. As in his earlier corrective. According to him. Both positions were upheld in early nineteenth-century Germany. cit. the transcendental method serves to uncover the constitutive elements of any experience.Michael Hagner "vital materialism".42 With this modification Kant brought Soemmerring's hypothesis into agreement with his own definition of the organization of matter. It is questionable whether Kant could have anticipated the consequences of his considerations. although his attempt was not accepted by contemporary physiologists.. Thus the process of signal transmission in the fluid was not mechanical-as Soemmerring had assumed-but chemical.. in part with Johann Caspar Spurzheim (1776-1832). but not in brain research. op. he had not challenged the legitimacy of the concept of the organ of the soul. pp. his precise analysis of Soemmerring's physiology and his epistemological argumentation of separating the soul and the organ of the soul created the framework for subsequent discussion. He tried to solve this dilemma by proposing a dynamic organization of the ventricular fluid."43 Consequently. After all. 64. In the same context Kant also rejected "transcendental physiology". and enthusiastic reports were published by his followers. is necessarily metaphysical. With Kant's rejection of any philosophical relevance of the search for the organ of the soul by means of anatomy and physiology. But he wanted to restrict it to the material site of the unification of perceptions and thus make it the subject of physiological research. pp. 44 On this point cf. p. the demise of this concept was in sight. 3. there was hardly an dem Begriff einer organisirten Materie zu widersprechen. dem Verrucken ihrer Theile (mithin auch der Anderung ihrer inneren Configuration) mit einer gewissen Kraft widerstehende Materie denkt. or they claimed to be philosophical in themselves. After he and Spurzheim made a demonstration tour through Europe from 1805 to 1807. welche man sich als Maschine." 42 Ibid. Kant insisted on a strict separation of the scientific and the metaphysical approaches. mithin als starre. cit. in Werke. and it survived only briefly. McLaughlin. From 1800 onwards anatomists began to visit Gall in Vienna. This was because "vital materialism" was an important factor in the development of embryology and in physiology. however. until it was replaced by two completely different concepts. Transzendentalphilosophie is "the system of all principles of pure reason". 84-5. or. The complete failure of Soemmerring's claim had consequences for the subsequent development of anatomy and physiology: either they avoided radically any philosophical viewpoint and competence. a physiological theory-despite its speculative character-cannot possibly be part of the transcendental method. note 29 above.44 Kant's criticism was highly relevant for further discussion. in Kant's words. 198-200. note 37 above. vol. Even if his position was not accepted. 43 Kritik der reinen Vernunft. This process. Instead he argued that the notion of animation and organization was part of a scientific concept. 10 .

Gall's first postulate was that mental talents and propensities are innate and that they have their seat and cause in the brain. Mind. by which the indivisibility of the soul was upheld. 'Seelengespenster. the criticism was based mainly upon his lectures. whereas equipotentiality harmonized perfectly with it. Med. 1970. and so forth were not localized in different parts of the cerebral cortex. This conclusion could be possible only if anatomy or physiology were able directly or indirectly to support the Cartesian concept of the indivisible and independent soul. Nachrichtenbl. 48 On Gall's scientific reception in Germany see Martin Blankenburg. 'Franz Joseph Galls kranioskopische Reise durch Europa (1805-1807): Fundierung und Rechtfertigung neuer Wissenschaft'. Young. op. or even an intellectual.. Pierre Flourens' experimental "refutation". Oxford University Press and Seldwyla. many in agreement.47 Even if Flourens was the most illustrious. dt. Sigerist (eds). p.46 Flourens refused to accept the existence within the brain of several small brains representing different talents and propensities of the soul. Jahrhundert. note 4 above. Oxford. in Mann and Dumont.. Although Gall's theory has been studied intensively by various historians. 267-85. His experiments led him to the conclusion that sensation. 50. op. 51 Cited from Lesky. Gesch. pp.51 Gall's second point was that abilities are different from propensities. 215-20. who was not familiar with Gall's basic assumptions. on pp. 'Varieties'. cit. 47 The agreements between Gall and Flourens were pointed out by Bynum. 49 See note 2 above. 9-53. Between 1802 and 1808. 11 . Essays on the history of medicine: presented to Karl Sudhoff on the occasion of his seventieth birthday November 26th 1923. According to him.48 As Gall at that time had not yet published his first systematic work. The significant feature of Flourens' disputation is that he construed a link between a philosophical assumption and experimentation.The soul and the brain anatomist. his anatomical demonstrations on his tour through Germany. pp. Versuch einer historischen Sondierung'. op. he was neither the only nor the first of Gall's critics. there were more than fifty publications on his doctrine. Naturwiss.. 46 On the metaphysical and cultural background of Flourens' criticism see Clarke and Jacyna. this was direct proof for the unity of the self. and that both are divided into several sub-groups. Clarendon Press. 50 Besides the authors mentioned in note 5 above see Robert M. 1985. and which was not superseded until the publication of his last work in 1825. 211-37. volition. Tech. London and Zurich.49 in which he developed his research programme. cit. 34: 86-114. and the short schematic paper of 1798. note 2 above. Erich Ebstein. Gunter Mann. Thus. brain localization was incompatible with the independent soul and free will. 45 Cf. 1924.. 27-30.50 I should like to point out some crucial arguments in the 1798 paper. pp. op. Zur deutschen Rezeption von Physiognomik und Phrenologie im 19. cit. 'Franz Joseph Gall im Kampf um seine Lehre auf Grund unbekannter Briefe an Bertuch usw. Several historians have argued plausibly that the metaphysical basis for this attack lay in Cartesian dualism. note 7 above.. 269-322. pp. cit. The nobility and the complexity of these functions increase in proportion to the increasing size of the brain relative to the mass of the body and in particular to the nerves. Ges. in Charles Singer and Henry E.. sowie im Urteile seiner Zeitgenossen'. brain and adaptation in the nineteenth century: cerebral localization and its biological context from Gall to Ferrier. but many more or less critical. pp. note 9 above.45 The analysis of Gall and his adversaries has focused mainly on his rejection by the Academy of Sciences in Paris under the leadership of Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) and its direct consequence. For Flourens.

and human behaviour. but then I should argue as an anatomist and not fight only with philosophical weapons. und des Gehirns insbesondere. Holland und Frankreich gesammelt. Rudolphi. In this connection Gall referred mainly to anatomical and pathological observations of the brain as well as to the examination of skulls. 155.. Gall's last and most popular postulate was that the inner surface of the cranium is determined by the outer surface of the brain. p. their behaviour became comprehensible. Medicin und Thierarzneykunde. but the point is that Gall put his hypotheses into an anatomical framework from the beginning. Gall argued. 55-6.53 Gall derived his research strategy from the empirical tradition of the first Vienna School. 421. Ein dem franzoisischen Institut uberreichtes Memoire. Furthermore. reporting on his meeting with him in Vienna. but he needed anatomy to help answer his questions. In his paper of 1798 Gall emphasized neither the structure nor the function of the brain. Consequently Gall was greatly interested in persuading anatomists. cit. 54 Lesky.56 Gall's challenge to his contemporaries was that he regarded anatomy as competent to investigate problems of human nature. His strategy was not primarily anatomical. 1809. He [Gall] told me himself that if I would not be won over by his theory I should write against him. pp. and the same was also true for individuals within one species. and to undertake studies in comparative anatomy. Consequently talents and propensities could be deduced from the outer surface of the skull. 53. p. if this was equivalent to the inner one. Untersuchungen iiber die Anatomie des Nervensystems uberhaupt. p. stated that he wished to be criticized by means of anatomical arguments. Paris and Strassburg. Treuttel & Wurtz. note 2 above.52 Because of the variable development of the individual organs in the brain in different individuals. Gall rejected pure reasoning and insisted upon observation. 5 Ibid. If this conclusion was correct. 56 Karl Asmund Rudolphi. he suggested that one should examine the specific parts of the brain by referring to the known talents and propensities of the individual. auf einer Reise durch einen Theil von Deutschland. op. The consequence was that some anatomists confronted Gall with the question of how far he was able to fulfil his anatomical programme.54 As a disciple of Maximilian Stoll (1742-1787).Michael Hagner he maintained.. FranzJoseph Gall and Johann Caspar Spurzheim. In 1809 he pointed out that it was natural "to consider structure and function together and to treat them as a single and identical doctrine". Bemerkungen aus dem Gebiet der Naturgeschichte. 2 53 12 . its function. 52 Ibid.. different forms of the brain evolved in different species. He demanded a study of the correlation of brain lesions and clinical symptoms. but rather he postulated that function was the linking element between structure and behaviour. they had their seats in different and independent parts of the brain.55 None of these demands was unusual around 1800. who had upheld the doctrines and methods of Boerhaave and van Swieten. Gall's aim was to trace a causal link between the structure of the brain. This leads to the problem of Gall's methodological approach to discovering the seats of the different organs.

The aim of all my investigations is to establish a doctrine of the functions of the brain. cit. however. In Neuburger.. Gall was confronted by two groups with different interests. 35.. note 5 above. Both vols. Fifteen years later Gall repeated similar statements in a letter (15 August 1820) to the anatomist Justus Christian Loder (1753-1832). As early as 1798 he anticipated reproach for challenging the immortality of the soul. This doctrine must lead to a complete understanding of human nature. Cf. Soemmerring tried to combine anatomy with transcendental physiology. In contrast to the discussion in France.. rejecting it with the remark that he was only interested in the "laws of the material world. cit. which brought him into conflict with the philosophical and theological approach-a reminder of Kant's diagnosis of a battle of the faculties.59 Here. cit. In the preface to his last publication. p. p. Realschulbuchhandlung. But. he made the ambition of his project quite clear. on the other hand. note 35 above. op. op. op. we are unable to say anything about it. note 2 above. 18 Ibid.. which was based on the Cartesian tradition. although each focused on his anatomy and physiology of human nature. p. I agree with Riese and Hoff that cerebral localization is not necessarily connected to materialism. Gall did not point out clearly what he understood by a philosophical problem relevant to the knowledge of human nature. such a problem did not exist... 57 Cited from Lesky. and teaches that in this life the mind is linked to the body". As anatomists and physiologists. 1804-5. note 2 above. 315. p. Gall seems to agree with Kant's separation of the philosophical and the physiological method.57 It was obvious to Gall that the assumption of several independent talents and propensities did not at all deny the eternity and the indivisibility of the soul.. because the former "is not concerned with the problem of the nature of this mutual relationship". . 51.The soul and the brain Another aspect of Gall's anatomical approach leads to the question of its relationship to Naturphilosophie in Germany. 60 Cited from Lesky. p. cit. See Ebstein. Gall was regarded in part as a pseudo-scientist or charlatan.58 Later on. He only observes.60 If this was Gall's aim. his admission that he had not investigated the human soul becomes meaningless. He [the natural scientist] cannot decide about the life of the mind. but he was mainly criticized by established scientists because of his radicalism in terms of the accepted confines of anatomy and philosophy. while Gall strongly rejected every kind of transcendentalism and insisted on observation. 2. p. 151.. This is not surprising: for him. 59 Gall to Andreas and Nannette Streicher. 19 October 1824. vol. note 6 above. 62. Gall was perfectly aware of the provocative character of his doctrine. 13 . the debate in Germany was more complex. he stated more explicitly that the soul was not the object of science: I even omit the question of the soul. Berlin. Riese and Hoff. Sur les fonctions du cerveau et sur celles de chacune de ses parties (1821-25). Although I argue that Gall was a materialist. He discarded metaphysical problems of the soul as irrelevant and thus proclaimed an absoluteness. although we have to think about a principle of its actions (Prinzip der Tatigkeit). op. op. 73. 52. cit. p.

not hypothesis or theory.. and his contribution had a more constructive character. hypotheses were necessary in order to pose questions and were an important element of empirical science. Hist.. Nevertheless. 62 Karl Asmund Rudolphi. Beytrage zur Anthropologie undaligemeinen Naturgeschichte. both agreed with the anatomical method. while Gall ignored this claim. they judged it incompetent at that time.. Theile der allgemeinen Historie der Natur'. 'Vorrede zum 1. Erwin H. but not Haller.. 1772.Michael Hagner agreed in their claims to explain human nature. Although they did not regard anatomy as unable in principle to deal with brain localization. namely the differences between men and animals. they did not relate their anatomical approach to Haller's concept of equipotentiality of brain function. Haude & Spener. pp. Rudolphi did not refer to Haller's authority. Consequently. 20: 10-35. 1. and both pointed out explicitly the correlation between material size and the development of the psyche. In Rudolphi and Meckel we have two anatomists who were much more reserved concerning these problems. At the same time. Med. 24: 43-60. According to Rudolphi doubt. 1812. 328-39. 3 vols. 1950.62 Remarkably. 63 On the Ideologues see Owsei Temkin. But much more importantly. vol. Consequently Haller played no role in Rudolphi's and Meckel's arguments. Haller's pragmatic argument had been that hypotheses are useful in so far as they might lead to theoretical questions that could be answered by observation or experiment. Hist. Bern. Instead he took a position very close to that of the French Ideologues. pp. in Sammiung kleiner Hallerischer Schriften.61 Rudolphi. Ackerknecht. however. ibid. and the variations of men one from another.63 The influence of this "sceptical 61 Albrecht von Haller.not the case that around 1800 there was a debate between believers in Haller's concept and Gall's localization theory: the discussion had shifted to a philosophical and methodological level at which Soemmerring and Gall were cited. 2nd ed. 41-2. RUDOLPHI AND MECKEL We have seen that Kant distinguished between a philosophical approach on the one hand and an anatomical one on the other. His warning against uncritically mingling hypothesis and empiricism was primarily directed against the new concepts of Naturphilosophie and in particular the attempts to understand the relationship of the soul and the brain. Quantity was essential for both of them. It was. 47-77. Bull. 'The philosophical background of Magendie's physiology'. Bull. their concepts were in no way identical. It has also been shown that Soemmerring and Gall gave concrete answers to the question of the soul and the brain. 1946. Emmanuel Haller. 'Elisha Bartlett and the Philosophy of the Paris Clinical School'. 14 . Central to Rudolphi's criticism of Soemmerring was his conception of the use of hypotheses in science. Soemmerring sustained the philosophical importance of localization. Rudolphi was much more involved in the controversy. should be the first step in science. and anatomy was their central method. 'The philosophy of ideology and the emergence of modern medicine in France'. accepted hypotheses only in those cases where he failed to make any useful observation. George Rosen. Med. Berlin. On this point Gall's theory was more diversified because he introduced the categories of talents and propensities.

. Anatomisch-physiologische Abhandlungen. but the striking difference is that Rudolphi ignored the idea of purpose. He analysed each cranial nerve and did not in principle reject Soemmerring's findings. The conclusion which Rudolphi had to draw was clear: while Kant and Blumenbach had sought a theoretical concept to explain the phenomenon of life. p. 15 . In his discussion of Soemmerring's "transcendental physiology". for example. he maintained that the contemporary methodology was insufficient. 163. Rudolphi und die Anatomie des Seelenorgans: "Empirischer Skeptizismus" um 1800'. Cf. muscles or internal organs. The consequence for brain function and the organ of the soul was that Rudolphi separated these two problems. However. According to Rudolphi. he agreed with the common theoretical definition of the organ of the soul as that place in which all efferent and afferent nerves met. For example. 68 Ibid. and second.. 11: 152-82. 65 For a more detailed analysis of the relationship between Rudolphi and Soemmerring see Michael Hagner. becauseaccording to him-it was an hypothesis without an empirical basis. Rudolphi merely admitted his ignorance. because the function of smell in embryos was unknown. it was a motive for Rudolphi's dispute with Soemmerring. 66 Karl Asmund Rudolphi. He interpreted Soemmerring's and his own anatomical observations in a way which testified against a localization of the organ of the soul. a rejection of the optimistic "soon-to-be" strategy. first. an acceptable definition of animation was the observable activity of those parts of the body which were able to cause an effect on themselves or on other parts of the body. he amply pointed out his scepticism.65 Rudolphi seems to have been the only anatomist who compared Soemmerring's observations of the cranial nerves with his own. As no one had found such a circumscribed part of the brain. He did not regard the function of the brain as undetectable in principle. of course. p. Gesnerus. because there was as yet insufficient experimental knowledge. and not to fluids. 175.64 Nevertheless. a denial of the connection between structure and function. 'Soemmerring. because it lacked an adequate anatomical and physiological basis. 1990. J. did not reduce the problem to the anatomy of the cranial nerves. this was meaningless for function. 1954. Erna Lesky. Medizinhist.67 Rudolphi's argument was thus based on. but he gave them a different interpretation. Realschulbuchhandlung. the fact that not all the cranial nerves could be found in the walls of the ventricles detracted from Soemmerring's original hypothesis. Berlin. But this applied to solid matter such as nerves. 'Cabanis und die GewiBheit in der Heilkunde'. 1802. and whose destruction would evoke a complete loss of sensory and motor function. For him.. 181. 6 Ibid.66 In the case of the olfactory nerve. 25: 211-33. he rejected Soemmerring's postulate of a direct correlation between the size of the olfactory bulb and the sense of smell: if Soemmerring had found this anatomical structure only in human embryos.The soul and the brain empiricism" was much stronger in France than in Germany. Rudolphi. Thus he accepted the animation and organization of matter only as heuristic epithets for unknown bodily processes. p. he suggested that the whole 6But the influence also existed in Germany.68 This concept seems to come close to Kant's definition of organization.

one obvious difference: Kant's was the expression of an epistemological argument. and a metaphysical viewpoint dealing with the soul. 16 . would like Rudolphi have polemicized against Soemmerring's transcendental physiology. but it seems to have liberated men like Rudolphi and others to delve further into what they understood by empirical research. The controversial question. p. of course. As Rudolphi did not hold a materialistic viewpoint-and here he differed from the Ideologues-Kant's metaphysical treatment of the soul was acceptable for him. After this separation it was much easier for an anatomist to exclude the soul from anatomy. The reason for this. Rudolphi perfectly realized the connection between Gall's anatomy and psychology and argued against the localization of different mental talents and propensities with the remark that there was no valuable criterion for an exact definition of qualities such as pride or vanity. however.69 All further speculations about the function of the brain unsubstantiated by observation and experiment were of no use to Rudolphi. however. Moreover. Rudolphi's the result of a sceptical interpretation of anatomical facts. read Kant's epilogue. who then went on to discuss the soul and the brain in his own field. I do not suggest. Rudolphi would have agreed in principle with Gall's methodological view. that he should have excluded questions concerning the soul. what darkness shrouds us if we accept only material evidence. In contrast to his controversy with Soemmerring. This becomes clear in Rudolphi's treatment of organology. He had. The question is..70 Rudolphi's charge against Soemmerring. a reduction of anatomical competence. As described above. but then to discuss them on a completely different level. Kant had argued for a strict separation of an empirical basis for brain research. in what respects had Kant created the general theoretical framework for an anatomist like Rudolphi. Both of them were good empiricists and Gall. of course. and the fact that he did not use it in his argument with Soemmerring does not exclude Kant's influence. In other words: the attraction of Kant's argument for Rudolphi was that it allowed him to exclude central questions on human nature from the anatomical discourse. he vigorously excluded from anatomy and physiology questions concerning the soul and the nature of psycho-physical interaction.. provided Rudolphi's only motivation. does not differ from Kant's in its consequences. He would accept neither a dualistic nor a materialistic point of view as reasonable bases for anatomical research. on the other hand. There is. 187. was. If one assumes the existence of a spiritual soul. however. that this position.Michael Hagner brain be regarded as the organ of the soul. This meant. p. is the assumption of a connection with an individual part of the body clearer than the assumption of a connection with a compound part? Is not the nature of a link between the soul and the body always obscure? And. for example. 70 Ibid. 189. which came close to that of the French Ideologues. in how far it was allowable to link man's moral and physical natures. he argued. was that human behaviour was a dynamic system 69 Ibid.

The development of mental talents. In 1800 or 1801 Rudolphi had visited not only Gall in Vienna. 73 Ibid. It is therefore unlikely that Rudolphi's scepticism was based on purely methodological reasons alone. 71 Rudolphi. because our judgement always depends on our own interests. this was because of the quality of education. Pestaloz-i: his thought and its relevance today. 75 Rudolphi was even cautious in comparing the brains of quadrupeds and men in relation to form and function. p.. Rudolphi suggested that this problem be discussed on a different level. Rudolphi added that he had met several people with such eyes and a rather poor 72 memory. and therefore: "The brain has taught us nothing". Switzerland. See ibid.. It was clear to him that no one had ever been able to provide this.. but also on its inner energy. 158. Against both Soemmerring and Gall.76 Herewith Rudolphi brought a new dimension into the discussion. mainly depended on the education of the child.75 In this context the brain's own physiological processes were used against Gall.73 In Gall's theory. Rudolphi's portrait of this visit is not only a beautiful description of life in Burgdorf.74 In this way.. this signified nothing about its representation in the brain. note 56 above. p. but also Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827)77 and his school in Burgdorf. and the size and weight of the brain were not linked to behaviour. cit. 74Ibid. A useful overview with extensive quotations is presented by Theodor Ballauff and Klaus 17 . which was independent from these. but merely pointed out that it is a contradiction to establish a direct link between dynamic behaviour and a static localization in the brain. Rudolphi vehemently criticized the postulation of a link between the size of the brain and human talents.. 164. 166.7' He did not therefore reject the localization of brain function in general. p.The soul and the brain changing during one's lifetime. he noted. Another motive becomes more obvious in his attempt to make relative the innate character of mental abilities. op. 1967. 76Ibid. 164. p. and if some talents were more developed than others. See ibid. Rudolphi demanded a comparison of such a talent with a localized part of the brain in more than one case. the innate character of mental talents and propensities was linked to the increase in size of the separate organs in the brain.72 But even if it were possible to define a particular talent. particularly since the underlying assumption-our daily experience-is anything but reliable. sympathies. although Rudolphi had earlier argued against Soemmerring that the nature of brain activity was unknown. pp. Barnes & Noble.. London. the rejection of a compatibility between structure and function meant a separation between physiology and anatomy. p. Rudolphi further pointed out that our impression of human character is not necessarily identical with the character itself. which led him to assume a correspondence between linguistic talent and a facial feature. Only then would it be legitimate to propose a correlation. not the innate size of any organs in the brain. 158-9. and antipathies. In this context Rudolphi mentioned Gall's autobiographical confession that he had known a boy with protuberant eyes and an excellent memory. the ability to learn was much more important to him. Although he did not definitely exclude factors such as the form and energy of the brain. Provocatively. 77 On Pestalozzi see Michael Heafford. Rudolphi argued that the power of an organ depended not only on its size or weight. If it was Gall's aim to explain all of human nature with his system. 155.

78 Rudolphi. an active participant in an enlightened society. but also with the moral development and the training of the child's practical abilities: only the harmony of all three aspects guaranteed the Bildung des Menschlichen. vol. cit. rather it is the human being who is educated. conversely. He continued: He [Pestalozzi] brings up boys to be human beings-the baron. 1775-78. 1778. which recognized that the task of teaching was to develop man's mind.forderung der Menschenliebe und Menschenkenntnis. 19 Ibid. not facial expressions..80 It would be too simple to argue that Rudolphi rejected Gall because he believed in man's development into an autonomous person. p. it is no coincidence that Rudolphi came to regard Gall's doctrine as a modification of Johann Caspar Lavater's (1741-1801) physiognomy.84 But Gall had not denied the influence of education. Rudolphi saw the devaluation of the entire theory: If there are more or less developed parts or organs of the brain which are responsible for our personalities. Gall conceded that natural potentialities could be suppressed during a given lifetime and. Leipzig and Winterthur. 1969-73. op.. 4 vols. p. p. Karl Alber. 137-46. Padagogik: eine Geschichte der Bildung und Erziehung. 2. Rudolphi agreed with Georg Christoph Lichtenberg83 that man's character was to be described only on the basis of behaviour. 82 Lavater's most influential work was Physiognomisehe Fragmente zur Beforderung der Menschenkenntnis und Menschenliebe. body and heart. pp. 480-9.. op. In this modification. future scholar or artist are not educated here. Fragment uber die Grundlagen der Bildung. 165-6. however. Jahrhundert bis zum 19. his strengths are drawn out from himself. 1803. Vom 16. 3 vols. The potentialities (Anlagen) of man are developed in a general way. 80 Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. 83 Lichtenberg (1742-1799) had written a furious attack against Lavater: Ober Physiognomik vwider die Physiognomen zur Be. Dieterich.79 This is an exact depiction of Pestalozzi's approach. 85 Ibid. op.. 145. that any ability could result from good education without innate talent. Jahrhundert. Gottingen.78 Most fascinating for Rudolphi was that Pestalozzi's system was concerned not only with the intellectual aspect of learning. 1970.81 Of course.85 Rudolphi concluded that a grofie Anlage did not exist in such a specific way and that it was not represented in any part of the brain. Reimer. our likes or dislikes. in which he praised the ideals of Enlightenment: Gedichte. Cited from Ballauf and Schaller. 480. cit. Berlin and Greifswald. and vice versa. note 77 above. 18 . Confronted with the existence of a significant bump without the correlating talent.82 the only difference being that Gall characterized man on the basis of cranial bumps. note 56 above.Michael Hagner it also shows his enthusiasm for the positive influence of education. Freiburg and Munich.. 183. Weidmanns Erben & Reich and Heinrich Steiner. cit. 81 Rudolphi also published a volume of poetry. then I cannot imagine that a given talent would be completely silent if its corresponding great material potentiality (groJie An/age) were present. note 56 above. He did not accuse Gall of being an Schaller. 1798. 84 Rudolphi. and our intellectual powers. pp. p.

consisted of a cautious plea for the localization of brain function. publish on animal magnetism: his attitude to it is analysed by Heinz Schott. from which questions concerning brain localization and the organ of the soul were excluded. He made suggestions for the Promotionsordnung. the question of the organ of the soul and the localization of brain function is by no means as central to the work of Meckel. cit. and August Boeckh (1785-1867). Temkin. and he was quickly engaged in its practical realization. and he made this quite plain in his preface. In an unpublished letter to Humboldt. 93 Johann Friedrich Meckel. was a member of the commission drawing up the statutes for the University together with Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834). From 1807 Johann Heinrich Ferdinand Autenrieth (1772-1835) was Reil's co-editor. 63-117. and Cuvier before he was appointed professor of anatomy in Halle in 1808. op. and Lenoir. Its importance. 153. op. 'Versuch einer Entwicklungsgeschichte der Centraltheile des Nervensystems in den Siiugethieren'. vols 1-7. pp. op. note 29 above. however. in Mann and Dumont. note 3 above. ibid. 56-61.86 Rudolphi. lies in the definition of the role of anatomy..91 Meckel was rather critical of this controversial theory.93 In Cf. It seems obvious against whom this statement was directed: from about 1805 onward Reil had made the journal available to papers dealing with animal magnetism.The soul and the brain anti-Enlightenment fatalist.. so his strategy has to be deduced from his approach to brain anatomy.. cit. but he saw the danger of fatalistic consequences if everything in human nature were reduced to brain weight and to the specific form of some of its parts. Rudolphi pointed out that he was in full agreement with the so-called Bildungsprogramm. Blumenbach.89 After Reil's death in 1813 Meckel continued the journal as Deutsches Archiv fur die Physiologie. 1989. 91 Reil himself did not. His conclusion. Meckel had studied with Johann Christian Reil (1759-1813). Rudolphi's persisting interest in pedagogy coincides with his call to the Berlin University in 1810 through the agency of Wilhelm von Humboldt.87 In comparison with Rudolphi. 1 am preparing a more detailed study on Rudolphi's role in the building of the University and the Anatomical Institute in particular. Karl Friedrich von Savigny (1779-1861). Gall was persuaded that the effect of education was solely based on the knowledge of the organization of the brain.88 His scientific programme is revealed in his editorship of the Archiv fur die Physiologie. 1826-32. and Pogliano. 89 Archivffur die Physiologif. on the contrary. Some aspects are treated in Beneke.92 Meckel did not specify the rules for correct empiricism. 1815-25. note 10 above. 1: iv. pp. 'Zum Begriff des Seelenorgans bei Johann Christian Reil (1759-1813)'. 92 Deutsches Archiv fur die Physiologie. he agreed with Rudolphi's theses concerning the possibilities and the limits of anatomy. cit. The first volume of his journal (1815) opened with a long article by Meckel on the development of the central nervous system of mammals. 1815. 1795-1811.. He rejected speculation. vols 1-11. op. 286-8. 1-108. op.. he also edited a final volume (12) in 1815. 183-210. note 5 above. 86 87 19 . although unable to complete even one experiment correctly.90 In a short preface he pointed out that the journal was open only to reports of observation and experiment.. Although Meckel did not consider methodological questions. In 1826 Meckel renamed it the Archivfuir Anatomie und Physiologie. vols 1-11. but disagreed also "with those who make claims for observation and experiment. however. note 4 above. pp. Their only purpose is to obtain one correct result in hundreds'. 90 Deutsches Archivfuir die Physiologie. more importantly. pp. thought that education was based on the belief in a self-aware and independent personality. and. pp. cit. p. however. cit. 88 There has been no general study on Meckel's contribution to anatomy and physiology. which Reil had founded in 1796.

Meckel refuted the first two arguments for equipotentiality. Handbuch der menschlichen Anatomie. p. 2. the localization of mental functions was such an enigma. and whether or not they were connected among themselves. p. with the exception of the question of localization. 520-35. 288-9. 99 Ibid. A lesion in one particular part of the brain does not necessarily lead to the loss of the same mental function in different individuals. Rudolphi had doubted the existence of such a common site.. he pointed out that some sensory and motor nerves not only had a common origin. 1815.. 98 Ibid.94 only localization plays a rather significant role. 4 vols. 00Ibid. vol. Halle and Berlin. He gave only a topographical account of the ventricles without any hint of the fluid's special character or function.97 On this basis Meckel regarded them as a unity. 3. Meckel referred to the arguments for localization: 1. Hence he summed up the arguments for brain equipotentiality: 1. 96 Ibid. Meckel's strategy in the face of difficult hypotheses was to cite arguments for and against them. 1815-20. lesions of the same part of the brain were never identical in different individuals. 315. and second. But Meckel was completely silent concerning Gall's organology. they had both motor and sensory functions. 1819.95 Still more importantly. 20 . and he argued against Gall's opinion that systems for voluntary movement and sensory perception were represented in different parts of the brain. The complexity of mental activities seems to be related to the compound structure of the brain. pp.Michael Hagner his Handbuch der menschlichen Anatomie (1815-20).100 In discussing these contradictory opinions. 2. 3. The greater development of particular mental propensities seems to parallel the development of particular parts of the brain. their function was in part mixed. that is. Buchhandlung des Hallischen Waisenhauses. This leads to Meckel's judgement of Gall's localization theory. According to him. but he did not insist upon this. Concerning the organ of the soul. Even an extensive lesion of the brain does not necessarily lead to mental defects. First.99 On the other hand. Meckel challenged the idea that the organ of the soul must be identical with the meeting-place of afferent and efferent nerves... vol. An increase in mental power is not necessarily correlated with an increase in the brain's size and weight. the problem of whether the whole brain or only circumscribed parts are the "seat of the origin (Urquell) of mental and bodily life"98 could be decided only by observation and experiment. the brain's symmetrical doubleness 94 Idem. 327. and Reil in his chapters on the nervous system. but Meckel had no firm opinion. First of all he regarded Gall as a serious brain anatomist and often cited him in an approving way along with Alexander Monro secundus (1733-1817). 95 Ibid. 1. he noted. Soemmerring. Meckel-in agreement with Gall speculated that it was the grey matter. Meckel rejected Soemmerring's concept of the ventricles. On the one hand he left undecided with which substance the central ends of the cranial nerves were connected. 97 Ibid.96 At the same time. pp.

105 Lenoir (op. Meckel essentially agreed with him on this methodological point. one area of the brain could even compensate for the loss of an area on the other side which did not correspond to it.. and the double brain: a study in nineteenth-century thoughit. he argued on the basis of pathological findings.. 102 Ibid. 104 Concerning the complex problems of localization in the mid-nineteenth century see Anne Harrington. Meckel combined several elements of the previous discussion. note 29 above). 21 . Meckel gave credit to the idea on a far more unpretentious level.'05 and the 101 Ibid. and thus the idea of individuality was not doubted. BURDACH AND CARUS The enormous influence of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling's (1775-1854) writings on romantische Naturphilosophie and physiology is beyond doubt. does not characterize Meckel as a follower of Gall. p. Sci. Rather. 'Teleology with regrets'. p. Caneva. however. This had been an aspect of Gall's programme. Princeton University Press. and a look at sensory physiology and brain physiology in general leads to a more balanced view. I argued above that Kant created the basis for this self-restriction. With reference to embryology and comparative anatomy.. is that Meckel did not use the criterion of innate quantity to explain the differences between humans.The soul and the brain could neutralize lesions on one side. Lenoir focused mainly on developmental physiology. Rudolphi had studied the brain in order to examine the limits of anatomical and physiological research. Meckel specified the powers of the soul and localized the more primitive ones in the lower parts of the brain. Lenoir's view has been criticized with some plausible arguments by Kenneth L. 1990. Moreover. cit.'03 The point.102 This conclusion. His approach was far too superficial for a valuable research strategy. and the nobler ones in the higher parts. mind. Meckel could show that even Gall's idea of localization harmonized with a post-Kantian understanding of cerebral anatomy. 103 Ibid. but Meckel was not at all interested in explaining human nature and carefully avoided any statement about the correlation of the brain and human talents. 328. he argued. Medicine. By textura Meckel meant the smallest elements of the nerve system. has doubted Schelling's influence on physiology. however. 47: 291-300. This should not seduce us into making Meckel one of the founders of modern brain localization.1° Nevertheless. This was also confirmed for him by the uniformity of the brain's microscopical structure (textura). 1984. Ann.101 On the basis of these considerations alone. and the investigation of the soul within an anatomical framework was.. however. The consequence-and Rudolphi was aware of this-was that he accepted only the investigation of observable bodily processes. beyond such limits. for him. Thus he reached a synthesis that agreed with nearly everyone. which were discovered by Giovanni Maria della Torre (1713-1782). the Kugelchen. and the theoretical background was quite different from that of the 1850s. Meckel's concurrence with Rudolphi in excluding questions concerning the soul from anatomical discourse shows that an important current in early nineteenth-century anatomy was willing to give up its competence in one important aspect of human nature. But while Rudolphi rejected localization theory because of its psychological import. Moreover. Meckel concluded that "different abilities of the soul (Seelenkrafte) correspond to different organs in the brain". First of all. 328.

107 Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. Natur und Subjektivitdt: zur Auseinandersetzung mit der Naturphilosophie des jungen Schelling. Reinhard Heckmann et al. "nature should be Mind made visible. 109 Schelling.. Hamburg. op. Important contributions in this context are Reinhard Lauth. 105-57.'08 Schelling made it quite plain that the problem of soul and body was outside the domain of empirical anatomy and physiology. Frommann-Holzboog. 'Kant. altogether indifferent. which shifted the problem from one part of the brain to the other without providing any valuable solution: But sometime. 1972. and in this all theories are alike. It is clear that our critique has come full circle. W. 1984.106 In particular. a point must surely come where mind and matter are one. See also the various articles in Ludwig Hasler (ed. pp. Risse. were (1) the philosophy of identity or totality. 1979.'09 Schelling's criticism of the attempts from Descartes to Soemmerring stressed that the missing link between brain and mind could not be found within the categories of causality. 1797. transl. Die transzendentale Naturlehre Fichtes nach den Prinzipien der Wissenschaftslehre. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt. or whether I pursue the soul into the uttermost (and still more problematical) humours of the brain (a project which at least has the merit of having done the uttermost) is. and Ignaz Doellinger (1770-1841). Hans Jorg Sandkuhler (ed. in Historisches Bewu. (2) the principle of polarity. '0 Ibid. and our critique ends here in the same extremity with which it began. but not that we have become in any degree wiser than we were to begin with.Michael Hagner same must be true of his impact upon brain research during the Romantic period. Hegel and the sciences. Schelling.). Errol E. (eds). 42. 1984. Whether I allow animal spirits. Schellings. Hist. 1984. J. Meiner. Harris and Peter Heath. 1985. Dietrich von Engelhardt. electrical fluids. Natur und geschichtlicher Prozeji: Studien zur Naturphilosophie F. p. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt. Mind the indivisible Nature". 27: 145-58. 'Romantische Naturforschung'.jtsein in der Naturwissenschaft von der Aufklarung bis zum Positivismus. Seine Bedeutung fur eine Philosophie der Natur und der Geschichte. brought a new element to the discussion. cit.. as evidently the most devious problem of all philosophy. Reidel. For a deeper understanding of philosophical problems around 1800 it would be necessary to take into account Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). Alber. 22 . a self-enclosed system". J. Second edition 1803. Cambridge University Press. by which nature was regarded as "a circle which returns into itself. or where the great leap we have so long sought to avoid becomes inevitable.107 had a significance for brain research beyond that of Burdach and Carcus.. Suhrkamp. He argued against the dualistic theories.). and (3) the concept of advancement in nature. 1988. Schelling's equation. Ideas for a philosophy of nature as introduction to the study of this science. We leave behind man.' 10 Schelling applied his theory to brain research only in an aphoristic way and only in 106 On Schelling and Naturphilosophie see Guenter B. 40. Schelling and the early search for a philosophical "science" of medicine in Germany. Cohen and Marx W. Dordrecht and Boston. 108 In this context I have to neglect various naturphilosophisch concepts of Johann Joseph Doemling Jakob Fidelis Ackermann (1765-1815). 1981. about that antithesis from which we started. Med. note 107 above. Instead he construed a unification of causation and teleology. Wartofsky (eds). Frommann-Holzboog. with respect to the matter in hand. p. (1771-1803).. although I have to neglect both of them in this essay. Frankfurt a. 40. His assumptions that were most influential in medical and physiological thinking. and thereby to propagate impressions from outside into the sensorium. M. somewhere. or types of gas to suffuse or fill the nerves. p. between mind and nature. Robert S. Freiburg and Munich. the idea of identity between microcosm and macrocosm.

Concerning the relation of soul and body he noted: "It is not their problem how these completely opposed viewpoints will finally be united in one common entity". Rodopi. 363. idem. 1857. 53-66. 1953. we-the philosophers-will manage the interpretation of your results. This statement was certainly not a repetition or modification of Kant's position. R. Alfred Meyer. Admittedly I had said of him in this book.. Schelling. A third possibility might be Kant's notion of transzendentale Naturphilosophie. 6: 17-35. 108: 418-22. in Nell trends in the history of science: proceedings of a conference held at the University of Utrecht. Visser et al. eine Hypothese der hoheren Physik Zur Erkiarung des allgemeinen Organismus. Gall was probably convinced that Burdach rejected him on the ground of Schelling's Naturphilosophie. 1989. According to this anecdote. 1966. The rejection of the organ of the soul had an anti-dualist impetus. Cotta. idem. Schelling. 'Organ der Seele: Beitrag zur Geschichte der romantischen Medizin nach den Werken Karl Friedrich Burdachs (1776-1847)'. because for Kant it was in no way the business of philosophy to interpret the results of empirical research. 2. pp. med. is the system of all principles of pure reason (see above). ed. Mschr. he could not know that only a few years later anatomists and physiologists would try to develop the synthesis he had demanded. 'Karl Friedrich Burdach and his place in the history of neuroanatomy'. Neurosurg. Osiris. on the other hand. Wschr. and the administration of science in the Romantic era'. On the contrary. cit... Amsterdam. 114 There is some confusion in this passage because of the use of the word Transzendentalphilosophie. W. 113 Burdach. (eds). 10 vols. 345-583. Neur. 1798.. p. op. Gall was extremely surprised: He [Gall] asked me. Psych. Scht%. saying that Burdach had erroneously been convinced by Flourens' experiments (of 1824) and that he. had refuted all of them. P. Karl Friedrich Burdach described his visit to Franz Joseph Gall in Paris in 1826. Burdach did not reject this view in the cited passage. Von der Weltseele. Neurol. 112 When Schelling wrote this. 112 On Schellings's opposition to Kant and its relevance for the development of Naturphilosophie see Frederick Gregory. note 16 above. and then he exclaimed: "You are visiting me?". 'Kant's influence on natural scientists in the German Romantic period'. 3: 109-16. in Sdmmtliche Werke. 125: 371-85. Gall was convinced that Burdach's attack was based on the results of Flourens' experiments and upon the theory of Transzendentalphilosophie. 1. pp."'3 Gall then went to his work table and fetched Burdach's book. 1856-61.The soul and the brain a few places.. 564.. the 23 . Transzendentalphilosophie in the Kantian sense. In his autobiography. but Gall was wrong in both assumptions. 2nd ser. on p. 'Kant. Psychiat. On Burdach's contribution to brain research see Kurt Feremutsch. and 1 l l Idem. we must interpret the naturphilosophisch approach to brain theory as a challenge to Kant's epistemological separation of the soul and the brain. that by trying to discover the basis of [psychological] phenomena he had entered an area unfamiliar to him. whether I came from Konigsberg and whether I was the author of the book about the brain [Vom Baue und Leben des Gehirns]. Abth. J.. He added that Transzendentalphilosophie was nonsense. 1978. Stuttgart and Augsburg.114 Burdach was no follower of Flourens. F. 1989. Gall.'1 1 What he meant was: carry on with your empirical investigations of the brain. K. where his crude materialism had created an extremely daring theory. whilst recognizing his other merits. vol. 'Anthropologischontologische Aspekte in Karl Friedrich Burdachs Werk "Vom Baue und Leben des Gehirns"'. which ended in Schelling's demand that physiologists restrict their research to the investigation of animal functions. A.

1819-26. they should make few assumptions.. He distinguished between Naturkunde. Physiology.Michael Hagner perhaps Gall was not aware that Burdach had already rejected his organology as early as 1810 in his book Die Physiologie. Gall knew Burdach's renowned Vom Baue und Leben des Gehirns. 1 17 According to Burdach. and his criticism of them all was that there was a particular phenomenon that was not considered or even contradicted the theory. inasmuch as "the organic interlocking of the original appearances of a thing constitutes life within it". Only in this way. If some missing link could truly explain those phenomena. op. and as a necessary. Burdach assumed three ways of explaining these. cit. experimentation. the comparison between the healthy and the diseased organism. two different methods or sources for physiology can be distinguished: 1. 117 Idem. In Die Physiologie Burdach described fully his version of naturphilosophisch methodology. note 1 2 above. but differ in their application to brain physiology. Die Physiologie. he argued. was the doctrine of human life. Dyk'sche Buchhandlung. and should explain a lot by the use of their postulates. experiments and analogy. Moreover. Burdach criticized the fact that neither explained the function of the organism. 115 Karl Friedrich Burdach. the reason for. " I As noted. Referring to the concept of a life force and to Blumenbach's Bildungstrieb. The empirical principle is the doctrine of organic functions. 1810. The most problematic element is experimentation. 3 vols. They should be simple and not applied too closely. is it possible to explain the phenomena of nature. Both versions agree in their philosophical claims. of course. On this difference see the articles by Gregory. but insufficient basis for contemporary physiology. hypotheses should be based "on observation. 2. 118 Ibid. Thus. His theory about the presence of the soul in the brain was based mainly on the fundamentals of Naturphilosophie. "I Ibid. note 115 above. which only described natural phenomena."16 in which he described the anatomy and physiology of the brain on the basis of his own experiments and dissections. The rational or scientific principle explains the connection between. different from Schelling's concept. cit. p. 7. Weidmannische Buchhandlung. The first was to account for them on their own. which compares one group of natural phenomena with others. then. and the purpose of phenomena. which was the philosophical knowledge of nature. 118 Thus far Burdach accepted the empirical principle. he theory of the a priori conditions of science that is. either from organic or inorganic nature. and this becomes clear after comparing the 1819-26 book with that of 1810. It consists of four elements: observation. 9. which includes no empirical studies. and Naturwissenschaft.. and hypotheses. Leipzig. p.. Vom Baue und Leben des Gehirns. but only assumed an unknown force. 24 . experiments must be repeated under the same conditions. 116 Idem. "19 The second way was the use of analogy. Here Burdach enumerated nearly all the theories around 1800 thought to explain the phenomena of life. op. 2. p. Furthermore they should not contradict an accepted law of nature". and he characterized it as the only basis of physiology in former times. because the results of the experimenters' manipulation are often difficult to distinguish from unexpected and unintentional changes occurring in the animal. its laws and causal connections. Leipzig..

121 Burdach did not isolate Vernunftanschauung from the other two methods. then the cause of life had to be sought in an absolute principle. but rather regarded it as the perfection of Naturwissenschaft. The question now is. p. 25 . but not to the nature of these processes and functions. it was concerned with the idea of advancement. how did Burdach apply his theory to brain research? However. 124 Ibid. 774. The lower areas represented the more primitive propensities. on the other hand. in other words. With the construction of this model Burdach met Schelling's provocative challenge perfectly.'22 The gas or vapour in the cerebral ventricles. The remarkable element in Burdach's approach is that he used it not only to explain the phenomena of life. his is less a synthesis of mind and matter than one of Soemmerring's and Gall's doctrines on the basis of the tenets of Naturphilosophie. which explained life on the basis of the totality of nature. 17. p. but could.The soul and the brain argued. i. Burdach accepted that organology demonstrated the main differences between man and animal. accordingly. This law-or "higher sphere" in Burdach's terminology-can be discerned in the following way: "The organization of all of nature is revealed to us by merely using reason (reine Vernunftanschauung). observation and experiment played a role equal to that of the explanation of phenomena on their own or by analogy. The point of discussion was again the question of innate talents and propensities. Like Rudolphi. be applied only to physiological processes and functions. science was organized like the organism itself.. This was a legitimate consequence of Schelling's philosophy.. the noblest element in his model. while the upper represented reason. because the laws for nature and mind were identical.... Burdach's view of Gall was more ambivalent. here man was most distant from "physical 120 Ibid. 22 Ibid. 21 Ibid. 769. Burdach's manoeuvre to avoid conflict with Schelling was to create a polarity between the soul and the brain. He divided the brain and the skull into eight areas and regarded the visible bumps on the skull as the representation of them. could unify all parts of the brain. He agreed with some aspects of organology. According to Burdach. 785. Burdach defined the organ of the soul as the place where the psyche interacts with the brain. Burdach therefore proposed a third way.e. the soul and the brain were merely the antagonistic aspects of one absolute principle. p. p. 123 Ibid. 120 His analysis of the different modifications of materialistic and vitalistic theories attempted to show that these were useful. but Burdach was in no way interested in animation and organization of the ventricular fluid.124 The highest area revealed the combination of temper (Gemut) and mind. Burdach clearly pointed out the importance of education: "The development of the brain is most influenced by education and by the use of free will'23 But. after all. which is the true source of Naturwissenschaft". With this close approximation to the dualistic view he seemed to challenge Schelling's attempt to supersede dualism. but attacked Gall for naivety in regarding human behaviour as dependent upon the size of a brain organ. but also to elucidate the scientific method and its historical development. In this concept. but he accepted these methods only in reference to Vernunftanschauung.

and it seemed to be a compromise for Burdach.. 128 Burdach ignored not only the empirical aspects of organology. 127 Burdach. because Soemmerring's model was not obviously dualistic. but rather why he made it. In 1813 Burdach had accepted a call from the University of Kbnigsberg to occupy the chair of anatomy and physiology. The main and constant factor was the identity between nature and soul and. however.. I propose that in 1810 Burdach had no other choice. 3: 109-16.'25 The idea of the absolute. 2. The question is not so much whether his attempt was plausible or not. 1822. For Burdach. 787. 26 . and this exists only in man". Consequently. but Gall had sinned against the naturphilosophisch tenet of combining the empirical and the rational method.126 In this way Burdach. 128 Burdach.. op. cit. 191-243. neurol. as a consequence. The concept of the organ of the soul was the final alternative. that harmony was an essential fact.. 786. note 116 above.Michael Hagner egoism" (korperlicher Egoismus) and felt "a part of the universe and hence embraces the whole universe with love". The application of the principles of Naturphilosophie to brain research thus took place on different levels. J. vol. note 116 above. which was so important for Burdach as a manifestation of the difference between man and animal. was restricted to man. On Burdach's role as a historian of neuroanatomy see Alfred Meyer. In the second volume of Vom Baue und Leben des Gehirns (1822) Burdach included an extensive review of the entire history of brain research up to the early nineteenth century. In practice. p. op. p. and this had led him to materialism. pp. It was a central aim of Naturphilosophie to supersede materialism and dualism. It is obvious that Gall's organology or Rudolphi's scepticism were not reasonable alternatives for him. Burdach argued that man's ability to recognize the absolute harmony between himself and the universe did not play the slightest role in Gall's doctrine. but restricted his praise to the anatomical studies: "But Gall stepped out of his sphere of expertise by trying to discover the cause of the [mental] phenomena (Grund der Erscheinungen)". guided by Naturphilosophie. This gave him the opportunity to continue the systematic anatomical studies of the brain that he had begun in Dorpat (Tartu) in 1811. 229. cit. 1822.'27 He regarded Gall as highly innovative. Sci. 2. however. 'Karl Friedrich Burdach on Thomas Willis'. 1966. p. of eternity.. Burdach's criticism of Gall was not intended as a rejection of brain localization. Organology allowed him to prove the singularity of man. the idea of an absolute principle. This becomes clear when Burdach's major revision of his theory in his three-volume treatise on the brain (1819-26) is considered. this is "visible in the bump on the top of the skull. and equipotentiality ran counter to the hierarchy of the brain. and Burdach fully agreed with this. Thus Burdach was able to sustain Soemmerring's concept by stressing exhaustively the concept of polarity. the interpretative range of this message was wide enough to combine heterogeneous aspects. combined elements of Soemmerring's and Gall's theories. vol. but also Gall's use of 125 Ibid. All other factors were variable. and this led to different results. 126 Ibid.

He replaced them with a pantheistic world view. thinking is indivisible. He blamed Descartes for founding dualism and noted that this mechanistic explanation for the interaction between soul and body was a product of imagination. From this Burdach concluded that the entire brain is the organ of the soul. Burdach then began a harsh attack on the dualistic view. 225. 27 . In contrast to his earlier approach.133 With this Burdach abandoned his earlier assumptions: neither the differences between man and animal. p. nor the polarity between soul and brain played a role any more. which is supposed to be the cerebellum) stands in relation exclusively with one specific part of the brain. 153. however. 160. which had neither material form nor external movement nor spatial activity (rdumliche Wirksamkeit)". vol. 131 Ibid. Finally Burdach linked these principles to the dimensions of space and time: "The brain contains the same characteristics in space as the soul does in time. p. Burdach based his opinion on the basic tenet of Naturphilosophie. Rather. 159.. p. impossible 129 Ibid. not empiricism. But while Rudolphi was led to a sceptical admission of ignorance on this question.'29 This might equally well have been written by Rudolphi. 130 Ibid. which he defined as an "apotheosis of nature". he noted. for he could not prove that any of his so-called brain organs (with exception of the organ of the reproductive instinct..'3' Burdach enumerated Soemmerring's anatomical discoveries and casually mentioned his doctrine of the ventricular organ of the soul without commenting on the fact that he had welcomed it only a few years before. p. and pointed out that he had not found what he was searching for.132 The brain. 208. 1826. had all the properties the soul lacked. 3.The soul and the brain anatomy to legitimize his doctrine. The brain is thus the physical image of the soul. Burdach developed a new definition of the relation between soul and brain. On the grounds of this rejection. cit. Unlike the body.. 133 Ibid.. note 116 above. op. he blamed Gall for failing to offer empirical proof for his theory.134 Despite postulating a divine order which embraced the whole universe. 132 Idem. and proposed an equilibrium between the two: the soul was the highest expression of the "dynamic principle" in nature just as the brain was the highest expression of the "material principle". Burdach did not ignore the problem of the unity of the soul.130 Soemmerring's anatomy was identified as the "beginning of a new era" in brain research. Burdach also noted the incompatibility between structure and function despite Gall's and Soemmerring's attempts to reconcile them. 134 Ibid. namely a bridge between his theory and his anatomical findings. an inner activity of life (innere Lebenstdtigkeit). The soul was "a dynamic phenomenon (dynamische Erscheinung). p. the material condition of its appearance within finitude"..

and Meckel. pp. p. Carl Gustav Carus. not have been necessary for him personally to examine the brain to discover that not all cranial nerves originate in the ventricular walls: this had already been noted by Rudolphi. 138 His primary aim was no longer to find arguments for the superiority of the soul over matter and of man over animal. mean ignoring the brain's high degree of complexity. this relationship was the basis for his interest in physiology.'40 His main study of the brain. It would. Leipzig. p. Rather it was Burdach's aim to revise some aspects of the relationship between Naturphilosophie and brain research. 131 Ibid.. 4.. 1865. Brockhaus. 8. cit. p. 15. op. however.. note 16 above. Instead he claimed that Naturwissenschaft would be identical with natural theology. if natural phenomena were regarded within the context of nature as a whole. note 116 above.135 Unlike Gall. See also the passage about Carus in Burdach's autobiography: op. p. 139 Ibid. 137 Idem. p. cit. 24. then each individual brain structure must make its own individual contribution to it or participate in a significant way to the process as a whole. vol. 140 Cf. 136 Ibid. who had been his student in Leipzig from 1807 to 1809.Michael Hagner to dissect. published 131 Ibid. 269. Erster Theil. Burdach combined the idea of the unity of the soul with that of a distribution in space of the various mental capabilities: If the activity of the soul (Seelentatigkeit) is transmitted by the brain as a whole. 1819.'36 With this statement Burdach reached a synthesis that combined the pantheistic view of the absolute and the demand for the unity of the self with the localization of brain function. and furthermore would contradict the variety of the soul's activities. for example. but the result was quite different. Its remarkable feature is that Burdach incorporated elements of dualism and of Gall's doctrine without involving their potential difficulties. Lebenserinnerungen und Denkwurdigkeiten. 268-9.. 1. The concepts of polarity and of the different hierarchical spheres of the brain. in particular. He was in agreement with the dualistic position in accepting the value of self-consciousness and the freedom of the self. 28 . Of course. Gall. no longer played an important role. 334-5. The fundamental difference between this position and the Cartesian view of Cuvier and Flourens was that Burdach did not use it to argue against the localization of mental talents and propensities. Burdach had attempted the same course in his earlier proposition. he thought. and he borrowed some ideas from Carus.'39 What is the reason for the difference between Burdach's two propositions? Burdach conducted anatomical research at Konigsberg.. 137 and human reason was the highest expression of natural action. According to Carus himself.. pp. but it would be too simple to argue that observation and dissection evoked a shift in the application of Naturphilosophie to brain theory. A theory of equipotential brain function would. This was only possible with naturphilosophisch presuppositions. the superiority of ideas over physical existence was the real origin of life for Burdach.

1988. 20. His alternative suggestion was based on the well-known ideas of identity and of polarity. Hist. 235-6. op. 1822. Carus attacked his predecessors in brain research for their faulty method. 2: 52-85. iv. and so forth".'46 The central point in Carus's theory was that this identity was expressed by the whole brain and the indivisible soul. was not basically different from other phenomena of life. although the highest and most noble manifestation of the nervous system. 10: suppl. This meant that the action of the brain in its totality was correlated to the idea of the self. op.. The consequence of their identity was that physical processes in the brain did not cause a change in the activity of the soul.142 although Carus's influence was embedded in a more general shift of Burdach's interests. 41-53. 'Mind and brain in medical thought during the Romantic period'. This approach. Carus's neuroanatomy is analysed by Kurt Feremutsch. 141 Ibid. cit. rejected the view that they would be contradicted by the assumption of a more direct relationship between soul and brain. On the relation of Burdach's and Carus's brain theories see Stefano Poggi. One of Poggi's main points is Burdach's influence on Carus's work Psyche. while the processes in the brain were its manifestation in space. 145 Ibid.. 29 . 1951-53. that is. published in 1846. Versuch einer Darstellung des Nervensystems und insbesondere des Gehirns nach ihrer Bedeutung. 146 Ibid. which was the manifestation of identity in time. life force is the body. Carus argued. pp. Furthermore it can be argued that there exist fundamental differences between the theory of the early and the late Carus.. 14. note 141 above.The soul and the brain in 1814. 20. Entwicklung und Vollendung im thierischen Organismus. p. they began with a search for the soul. p. 144 Carus. the soul.. 'Die Grundzuge der Hirnanatomie bei Carl Gustav Carus (1789-1869): ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Medizin und Naturwissenschaften des beginnenden 19. cit. Life Sci. could only lead to the concept of the organ of the soul. although they were identical: "the body is the spatial form of the life force. Jahrhunderts'. Burdach. namely the human soul. Accordingly. 2. both of which he reduced to one unifying principle. Centaurus. Because of the assumed identity of the soul and the brain Carus saw no reason to put brain research into the framework of moral questions. because on the basis of his equation of the 141 Carl Gustav Carus. He thought that the conflict between different powers was responsible for all physical phenomena. Basic to Carus's theory was the distinction between the somatic and the dynamic aspect of the nervous system. 1814. Phil. and the product of this action was consciousness or the soul. note 116 above..141 was an important source for Burdach's later work. 143 The next step would be the examination of the brain in sequence from the lowest forms to its highest expression. Breitkopf & Hartel. Cf. immortality. although he admitted that he had problems with some of his ideas (see note 138 below). which would lead to the fatal mistake of trying to find the organ of the soul.. the same was true for the relationship between brain and soul. 142 Burdach wrote enthusiastically about Carus's work. Leipzig. p. The polarity between the life force (dynamic part) and the body (somatic part) leads to the expression of life. far from denying the moral value of these ideals. which appears in the form of activity".. 5. 1 3Carus. p. vol. l44 Ibid. 145 According to Carus.. but he does not consider Burdach's Die Physiologie and Carus's study of the brain from 1814 and thus does not explore Carus's early influence on Burdach. whose earlier acceptance had been directed by an "incorrect understanding of ideals about the freedom of the soul. p. 147 At this point Carus pursued a course different from Burdach's.

150 It is not surprising that Burdach's main criticism of Carus was directed at this point: he thought that Carus should have considered the human brain more seriously. 310. Burdach was sympathetic to the investigation of the brain on the basis of the human self. At the same time Carus did not hesitate to localize the visual and auditory systems in the brain. The metaphysical experience of the unity of the self found its complement in physiological localization. cit. 50. called attention to the insufficiency of the hypothesis that the soul was subject only to the inner senses. note 141 above. They accepted the dimensions of time and space. in particular. Burdach and Carus were in full agreement in regarding the soul as the temporal. But Carus suspected that every theory primarily focusing on the human brain was directed by an erroneous metaphysical supposition.148 Carus's refutation of Gall is thus fundamentally different from Burdach's.Michael Hagner indivisibility of the soul and the totality of brain function he strongly rejected any localization of the soul or of its functions. vol. however. 30 . note 116 above. Our consciousness tells us that our soul is individually confirmed to one specific body. 2. op. note 116 above. Hence the final question in Carus's book is that of "the innate psychical propensities and talents and their manifestation in the structure (Bildung) of the brain".. See Burdach. and on education rather than on the size of the brain. this naturphilosophisch brain theory represents an attempt to supersede Kant's epistemological separation of the soul and the brain. 301. 1826. and the knowledge of its unity with the soul is the result of self-experience. The reference to the dimensions of space and time had an epistemological background. op. 152 Burdach. 3. with the difference that Gall had proposed not only one.'50 This plan. but many organs.. to specific spatial boundaries. 51 Carus. op. but they unified them on a higher level. 235-6. pp. cit. did not include the examination of human talents and propensities..'52 Thus individuality and personality are necessarily correlated with the body.'51 and he agreed with Rudolphi and Burdach that the differences between men were based on human freedom and the circumstances of life.. While the latter had accused Gall of materialism. p.. 149Ibid. 153. 1822. p. We feel that this body belongs to our being and recognize that our soul is bound to it. 149 It seems peculiar that Carus should place Gall in the dualistic tradition in the search for the organ of the soul. p. that is. Carus stressed that Gall's research had started with the organ of the soul. cit. Burdach. which did not undermine the unity because it did not propose a causal connection between mind 148 Ibid. and as a result he was able to establish two levels of knowledge. whereas he aimed to investigate the brain in its phylogenetic development. vol. This does not mean that Burdach or Carus returned to the position against which Kant's criticism had been aimed. p. In spite of its criticism of dualism and materialism. The soul becomes manifest and operates by means of these very same spatial barriers. and that he had continued by seeking more inferior organs "in order to ignore no lobe or fibre of the brain which could not be regarded as the specific organ of a particular power of the soul". and the brain as the spatial aspect of a unified principle.

was Burdach's more practical orientation: in his book he presented an enormous collection of studies of patients with brain lesions. it is not plausible to explain the change in Burdach's approach between 1810 and 1819-26 by his experience in dissection. 31 . Voss. and because it avoided assuming organs of pride. Johannes Muller (1801-1858). Anz. in which he collaborated with younger scientists like Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876). The theoretical backgrounds for the various concepts went far beyond anatomical and physiological problems. 6 vols. 299-300. note 16 above. 155 Burdach. Heinrich Rathke (1793-1860). Leipzig. and Gall's doctrine was divided in a useful. but it is reasonable to assume that the combination of a naturphilosophisch approach with a practical orientation in physiology developed along with his position as a Prussian professor. 94: 161-208.The soul and the brain and matter. pp. however. In his autobiography. indeed. harmonized much better with practical demands than the former assumptions of polarity in order to sustain the organ of the soul and the hierarchical spheres of the brain. The impact of Naturphilosophie on anatomy and physiology had never been very strong in Prussia. Burdach's message was clear: the concept of the organ of the soul had definitely met its demise. around 1820 all Prussian anatomy professors were outspoken and vigorous critics of Naturphilosophie as vague and without any empirical value. in which the unity of the self was embedded in a pantheistic view of an identity between the soul and the brain. but it is also insufficient to explain this practical turn as solely the result of Carus's influence. THE END OF THE ORGAN OF THE SOUL" My aim has been to demonstrate the complexity of the discussions on brain research in early nineteenth-century Germany. cit. empirical component and in a useless. but he had also been professor at a Prussian university since 1814. Burdach was certainly not willing to give up his naturphilosophisch approach. more financial support for the Anatomical Institute in K6nigsberg. something virtually neglected by Carus. 'Zur Geschichte der Anatomie in Konigsberg (Pr. Burdach recounted how he sent to Altenstein an essay on morphology one day. 1943.) bis zum Jahre 1860'. Anat. however. Mayer I. and others. 156 In this context it would be interesting to examine Burdach's Die Physiologie als Erfahrungswissenschaft.. had a strong influence with the government of Karl Freiherr vom Stein zum Altenstein (1770-1840). 1826-40. Rudolphi and Meckel.. and Friedrich Christian Rosenthal (1779-1829) in Greifswald.'56 This might also plausibly explain the shift in the application of Naturphilosophie to brain research in Burdach's second approach.Cf. materialistic one. for example. op. The minister responded reproachfully that some passages might seduce the medical students to "hypotheses" and "vague raisonnement". L. The question of the presence of the soul in the brain had been a subject of anatomy from 153 The other anatomists were Adolf Wilhelm Otto (1786-1845) in Breslau. Wolfgang Bargmann. and so forth. the most famous. This view. I do not suggest that Burdach felt compelled to convert to "empiricism".153 If Burdach did not want to lose his reputation and influence-and this included. 155 Burdach suspected that it was in fact Rudolphi who was responsible for the criticism.154 then he had to ensure that his research had some empirical and practical value. The consequence of physiological localization. vanity. As I have argued. August Franz Joseph Karl (1787-1865) in Bonn.

but not in France.. 300-7. 158 32 . then the Enlightened ideal of the equality of man united scientists who had quite opposite theories.. cit. But in the transition from the Enlightenment to the Romantic period. but also within Burdach's own work. Despite his failure. op. Carus). which was stressed by Kant and picked up and transformed by Schelling and his successors. Rudolphi stressed the methodological standpoint and argued that anatomy was not suitable to support that view. The latter made a final attempt to preserve the concept of the organ of the soul by combining the methods of anatomy with certain theoretical assumptions of late eighteenth-century "vital materialism". structure. op. At the same time. namely the absolute principle. pp. however. For both the formula "big is beautiful" was connected with the explanation of human nature. p.Michael Hagner antiquity to Descartes and to Soemmerring. note 9 above. we see another puzzling interrelation of the different opinions. Flourens) and in German Naturphilosophie (Burdach. cit. None of the authors discussed above would have denied that the relationship of the soul to the brain was a most important issue. This materialistic view was rejected with several arguments. Anatomists and anthropologists tried hard to find an effective parameter for correlating brain and species within the Chain of Being. no one denied that the formula "big is beautiful"'57 was an appropriate principle by which to distinguish between animal and man. This general agreement. op. It is generally accepted that the question of whether there were innate differences between individuals or whether they were equal was a central topic of the Enlightenment. This coalition suggests that the distinction between Naturphilosophie and empiricism is not necessarily useful. This tenet not only led to different applications in Burdach's and Carus's approaches. note 12 above.. 'Varieties'. op. they proposed that the brain and the soul were only two aspects of one and the same thing. Of course. The independence of the soul was a central assumption in French dualism (Cuvier. Kant's definition forced the Naturphilosophen to consider and to accept the logical premises for distinguishing between space and time. brain anatomy was not divorced from this issue. Although Gall was much more radical than Soemmerring. and function of the human brain and behaviour was linked to the definition of the differences between men and animals. was only one component. he was in full agreement with Burdach and Carus that human behaviour was primarily a result of education and of the circumstances of life.159 Focusing on the problem of the unity and indivisibility of the soul. note 5 above.'58 Here we can discern the element common to scientists like Soemmerring and Gall. 159 On Gall's fatalism see Temkin. The relation of human nature and anthropology is the subject of Mann and Dumont. the significance of the problem was appreciated. If Gall's pessimism denied the progressive perfection of mankind. the epistemological view. Strictly anti-dualistic and anti-materialistic thinkers.. note 3 above. must not be transferred to the problem of characterizing men. See also Pogliano. 29. anatomy was absolutely necessary to both. The relation between the size. cit. The difference seems to be that Kant's epistemological definitions stimulated further discussions in Germany. cit. This suggests that Naturphilosophie was a spiritus rector 157 I have borrowed the term from Bynum. and of men among themselves.

Rudolphi rejected cerebral localization on the grounds of scepticism of the validity of anatomical observations and of his psychological premises. who argues that in general naturphilosophisch physiology should be seen as a search for a new basic methodology in science. It demonstrates the enormousness of the theoretical enterprise required to create a methodology for explaining the phenomena of life. we could place Rudolphi and Carus in the category of anti-localizationists. whereas Rudolphi and Carus did not. Soemmerring's and Gall's concepts were discussed within various dimensions and finally rejected by a variety of arguments. Meckel. Gustav Fischer. philosophical. attempts at new orientations. Stuttgart and New York. the discussion around 1800 cannot be subsumed as the choice between localization theory and brain equipotentiality. and as such was a necessary precursor of biophysical physiology: Die Suche nach der Wissenschaftlichkeit der Physiologie in der Fit der Zomantik. Nevertheless.160 160 I completely agree with Brigitte Lohff. came to a similar pragmatic conclusion by reducing the problem to anatomical and clinical observation. and political situation in early nineteenth century Germany. on the other hand. including human thoughts and feelings. This "plurality" was at least an expression of the scientific. His basic aim was to avoid materialism. and each used a completely different strategy in order to reach their conclusions. and with a field wide enough to allow for various Finally. Instead he combined both on the basis of Naturphilosophie and proposed two different points of view regarding the same thing. But all the physiologists examined here were influenced by Gall. For Burdach. it is true that Burdach and Meckel favoured cerebral localization. Carus on naturphilosophisch grounds. because understanding them not only meant understanding the world but also the self. 33 . Again. 1990. ein Beitrag zur Erkenntnisphilosophie der Medizin. the first was not the alternative to the second. The soul and the brain were the most sensitive entities in this field.The soul and the brain without absolute authority. although they had radically different positions.